Employers may be hiring, but there's another big problem with the job market that isn't being tracked as closely: the hopelessly unemployed.
An often overlooked number calculated by the Labor Department shows millions of Americans want a job but haven't searched for one in at least a year. They've simply given up hope.
They're not counted as part of the labor force, the official unemployment rate, or the category the Labor Department refers to as "discouraged workers" -- those who haven't bothered to look for work in the last four weeks.
These hopelessly unemployed workers have just been jobless so long, they've fallen off the main government measures altogether.
"The way we're measuring the long-term unemployed has a lot of holes in it," said Stephen Bronars, senior economist for Welch Consulting. "A person can be discouraged for a while, but then gets bumped over into this other category."